Inside The Numbers: Mansoor Delane’s Brilliant Freshman Season

Mansoor Delane has had an outstanding freshman season. (Ivan Morozov)

It’s no secret that Mansoor Delane is having a very good true freshman season for Virginia Tech. David Cunningham had an excellent article on Delane on Wednesday, which I would encourage everyone to read. Today, I want to put Delane’s true freshman season into perspective by comparing him to other true freshman cornerbacks around the country who have had a lot of playing time in 2022.

Cornerback is a position that isn’t as physically brutal as some other positions, such as offensive line, defensive line or linebacker, so you might expect more true freshman corners to carve out a niche for themselves. However, so far in 2022, only 16 have played 200+ snaps for Power 5 schools. Delane is one of them, and he’s outperformed the other 15 with the exception of one player.

Here’s a list of the 16 and their overall PFF grades for the 2022 season…

1: Will Johnson, Michigan, 84.1
2: Mansoor Delane, Virginia Tech, 74.9
3: Denver Harris, 71.9
4: Jeremiah Earby, Cal, 68.7
5: Jacob Parrish, Kansas State, 66.4
6: Simeon Harris, Colorado, 65.9
7: Davison Igbinosun, Ole Miss, 65.4
8: Jaylon Gilbeau, Texas, 64.5
9: Chandler Rivers, Duke, 63.4
10: Toriano Pride Jr., Clemson, 63.2
11: Azareye’h Thomas, FSU, 62.6
12: DQ Smith, South Carolina, 58.7
13: Jacolby Spells, West Virginia, 57.5
14: Malcolm Hartzog, Nebraska, 54.1
15: Amari Jackson, Boston College, 51.7
16: Jeremiah Cooper, Iowa State, 49.6

Only 11 of the 16 have graded out at a baseline 60 or better, which shows that some of those who have played 200+ snaps did so out of necessity and not because they were actually ready. Delane was one of those guys who was absolutely ready.

Delane’s tackling grade is also second out of that group, behind only Denver Harris. His coverage grade is also No. 2, behind only Will Johnson. Delane and Johnson are the only corners on this list who have a pure coverage grade of over 70 (Johnson at 83.3, and Delane at 73.9).

Other notes on Delane…

Opponents are completing just 51.7% of their passes against him, which ranks No. 6 out of the 16.

Delane has broken up four passes, which is tied for first.

Delane’s missed tackle percentage is just 3%, which ranks No. 3 on the list, behind two players who have played 130 or fewer snaps, so they haven’t had as many opportunities to miss tackles.

In short, while it’s probably not accurate to say that Delane is the best true freshman cornerback in the country, you can make a strong argument that he’s No. 2.

Now, let’s compare the recruiting rankings for those 11 guys who have graded out at a baseline of 60 or better, in order of their overall grade…

1: Will Johnson, Michigan, 4-star, No. 35 overall, No. 1 player in Michigan
2: Mansoor Delane, Virginia Tech, 3-star, No. 13 player in Maryland
3: Denver Harris, Texas A&M, 4-star, No. 45 overall, No. 8 player in Texas
4: Jeremiah Earby, Cal, 3-star, No. 71 player in California
5: Jacob Parrish, Kansas State, 3-star, No. 16 player in Kansas
6: Simeon Harris, Colorado, 3-star, No. 92 player in California
7: Davison Igbinosun, Ole Miss, 4-star, No. 124 overall, No. 1 player in NJ
8: Jaylon Gilbeau, Texas, 4-star, No. 128 overall, No. 21 player in Texas
9: Chandler Rivers, Duke, 3-star, No. 143 player in Texas
10: Toriano Pride Jr., Clemson, 4-star, No. 40 overall, No.